VAIL – One of Vail Village’s most lively events, the Kids Adventure Games, will return in 2022 after three years away.
The Kids Adventure Games, during its signature weekend in August every year, was known to transform all corners of Vail Village into an adventure course. The event was founded in Vail in 2010 and went nationwide a few years later.
In 2020, however, the Kids Adventure Games was canceled due to the pandemic and in 2021, when the event returned to Eagle County, it was held at Maloit Park in Minturn rather than its former home in Vail.
Organizer Helene Mattison said she’s excited to welcome kids to Vail Village who have never participated in the event there before. The Kids Adventure Games makes use of both Vail Village and Vail Mountain testing kids skills in running, biking, climbing, paddling and more.
“Vail is our iconic venue,” Mattison said. “People see it happening all around the village, they see kids in the creek and running around town, and so the conversation flowing around town is all about Kids Adventure Games.”
As a result, Mattison said registration for the Kids Adventure Games is filling faster than usual.
“This year it looks like it will sell out earlier than ever,” Mattison said.
The event has space to allow for hundreds of kids to form teams of two and join, and while it always fills to capacity, this year the event seems to be reaching its capacity much quicker than it normally does, Mattison said.
By mid-May, organizers said the event was already 80 percent full.
“That usually doesn’t happen,” Mattison said. “We’re seeing huge demand.”
The event will take place August 12-14, with three different adventure courses set up for the kids. The longest course will be set up on Friday and the shortest course will be set up on Sunday.
As of Tuesday, there was only space for eight more teams in the Saturday group of 8-9 and 10-11 year olds. The 10-11 and 12-14 age groups for the long course on Friday had 26 team spots remaining, and the 6-7 and 8-9 age groups for the shortest course on Sunday had 36 team slots remaining as of Tuesday.
Once the event fills, there will likely be skills clinics and other satellite events announced. In 2017, after more than 900 kids participated in the main event, a mud run was announced with attracted another 250 entrants.
Mattison said so far this year, the only side event that has been announced is a skills clinic taking place on Thursday, August 11, from 1-5 p.m.
“We’ve only opened up 100 spots for the skills clinic at this point,” Mattison said. “And we still have about 40 spots left.”
While all involved are excited to return to Vail, Mattison said the Minturn venue also had its advantages and might have a place in the future of the Kids Adventure Games circuit.
“The course at Maloit Park went back to the basics of adventure racing,” Mattison said. “I have plenty of ideas to do a qualifying event, or training race there, to use the area in the future as an expansion event on the Kids Adventure Games.”